Candida (song)

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Candida single cover by the group Dawn.jpg
The persons appearing on this sleeve are NOT the actual group who recorded the record.
Single by Dawn
from the album Candida
B-side"Look At..."
ReleasedJuly 1970
GenrePop, rock[1]
LabelBell Records
Dawn singles chronology
"Knock Three Times"

"Candida" was the first single released by the American pop music group Dawn, with vocals by Tony Orlando, in July 1970. The song, written by Irwin Levine and Toni Wine, was produced by Dave Appell and Hank Medress for Bell Records. Appell and Medress originally recorded another singer on the track, but decided that a different vocal approach would be preferable. Medress then approached Orlando to do the vocals. Orlando had been a professional singer in the early 1960s, but now worked as a music publishing manager for Columbia Records. Although initially worried about losing his job at Columbia, Orlando eventually agreed to lend his voice to the track.

"Candida" became a worldwide hit, reaching number one in five countries, and the top ten in many others, including number 3 in the USA.[2] It was included on Dawn's debut LP in 1970 and later appeared on several compilation albums. Andy Williams, Jesse Winchester, Ray Conniff, and Bernd Spier are among the artists who have covered the song.

Background and recording[edit]

In 1970 Hank Medress of the Tokens and Dave Appell were producing a song called "Candida" for Bell Records.[3][4] The composition was written by Toni Wine and Irwin Levine.[4][5] For the first recording of the song, the lead vocal was done by blues singer Frankie Paris,[3] in a style reminiscent of the Drifters.[4] Paris's performance was deemed unsatisfactory, and a new singer was sought for the track.[3][4] Medress believed that "an ethnic feel" would suit the song well.[6] He asked his friend Tony Orlando, whose heritage is Puerto Rican and Greek, to perform its lead vocal.[4][7]

Orlando, a former professional singer, had had two top-40 hits in the USA in 1961,[8] but later moved into the music publishing business; in 1967 Columbia Records chose him to manage their publishing division, April-Blackwood Music.[8][9] When Medress approached Orlando, he was reluctant to perform on a Bell Records single, as he did not want to jeopardize his job at Columbia.[3][6] Medress reassured him by saying they would use a band name for the release, and that nobody would know who the singer was.[3][6] Orlando finally agreed, partly because he believed the song would be unsuccessful and would not attract any attention.[10] He went into a studio with Appell and Medress, and sang his lead vocal over prerecorded tracks.[10] Background vocals were done by Wine and the Tokens' Jay Siegel;[3][4][11] Orlando was not present when these were recorded.[4] By different accounts, additional background singers may have included Ellie Greenwich,[4] Robin Grean,[4] Leslie Miller,[3] and Linda November.[11][a 1] Phil Margo and Siegel played instruments on at least one of the versions of the song.[3][4] The music of Orlando's version has been described as having "a lilting, sing-along groove".[8]


"Candida" was released as a single in July 1970 under the moniker Dawn, named after the daughter of either Jay Siegel[7] or Bell Records executive Steve Wax.[5][4] The single reached number one in Brazil,[12] Malaysia,[13] Singapore,[14] Spain,[15] and Sweden,[16] and the top ten in Austria,[17] Canada,[18] Denmark,[16] Mexico,[15] New Zealand,[14] Norway,[5] South Africa,[14] the UK,[19] and the USA.[20] It also reached the top twenty in Australia,[4] Belgium,[21] and Germany.[22] Billboard ranked the record as the No. 18 song of 1970.[23]

Jay Warner, author of American Singing Groups: A History from 1940 to Today, notes that the group the Corporation released a different version of "Candida" around the same time as Dawn's.[4] The Corporation's recording was produced by Bill and Steve James, and released on Musicor Records.[4] Warner believes that this version was based on an early, slower piano-and-vocals demo by Toni Wine.[4] A July 1970 capsule review in Billboard magazine of both Dawn's and the Corporation's versions categorized the latter's recording as possessing "a strong blues and Tex-Mex flavor", and stated that both singles had "equal sales and chart potential".[24] However, although for a short while it seemed there might be competition between the two, the Corporation's single did not sell well.[4]

Dawn's version was released on their debut album, Candida, in 1970,[1] and later on the Dawn compilations Greatest Hits, The World of Tony Orlando & Dawn, The Definitive Collection, and The Big Hits.[25] It has also appeared on various-artists compilations including Today's Super Hits, AM Gold: 1970, and Real 70's: the Polyester Hits, Disc One.[26]


Jesse Winchester is one of many singers who have covered "Candida".

Numerous musicians have covered "Candida", among them Andy Williams,[27] Jesse Winchester,[28] Jimmy Velvet,[29] Ray Conniff,[30] and reggae artists Owen Gray[31] and the Pioneers.[32] Foreign-language versions have included recordings in Portuguese by the Fevers,[33] in Spanish by La Tropa Loca,[34] and in German by Bata Illic[35] and Bernd Spier.[36]

Chart performance[edit]


  1. ^ Still other sources attribute the background vocals to Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent Wilson (see Hoffman 2004, p. 789; Bronson 2003; Ankeny), who were members of Dawn from some point in the early 1970s onwards (see Huey). However, in his autobiography, Orlando recounts recruiting Hopkins and Wilson for the group after "Candida" and its follow-up single, "Knock Three Times", were recorded and released (Orlando 2003, pp. 95–100).


  1. ^ a b Viglione
  2. ^ "'Candida' by Dawn – Classic Hit or Miss".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Childs 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Warner 2006, p. 484
  5. ^ a b c d Dawn – Candida (
  6. ^ a b c d Orlando 2003, p. 91
  7. ^ a b Bronson 2003
  8. ^ a b c d Hoffman 2004, p. 789
  9. ^ Ankeny
  10. ^ a b Orlando 2003, p. 92
  11. ^ a b Orlando 2003, p. 94
  12. ^ a b Hits of the World (1971-01-09), p. 48
  13. ^ a b Hits of the World (1970-12-05), p. 72
  14. ^ a b c d Hits of the World (1970-11-14), p. 53
  15. ^ a b c Hits of the World (1971-03-13), p. 56
  16. ^ a b c Hits of the World (1971-02-20), p. 52
  17. ^ Hits of the World (1971-01-30), p. 56
  18. ^ a b Top Singles - Volume 14, No. 10, October 24, 1970
  19. ^ a b Singles: Candida
  20. ^ a b Hot 100, p. 90
  21. ^ a b Dawn – Candida (Ultratop)
  22. ^ a b Dawn – Candida (
  23. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1970
  24. ^ Top 60 Pop Spotlight, p. 80
  25. ^ Tony Orlando: Discography
  26. ^ Dawn Candida: Overview
  27. ^ Haney
  28. ^ Ruhlmann
  29. ^ Jimmy Velvet Did You Know Elvis?: Overview
  30. ^ Campbell
  31. ^ Birchmeier
  32. ^ Various Artists Roots, Rockers, Reggae, Vol. 3: Overview
  33. ^ The Fevers Para Sempre: Overview
  34. ^ La Tropa Loca 12 Exitos: Overview
  35. ^ Bata Illic – Candida
  36. ^ Bernd Spier – Candida
  37. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1971-07-24. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  38. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-03.
  39. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  40. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 67.
  41. ^ Downey, Albert, and Hoffmann, p. 87
  42. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013.
  43. ^
  44. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1970". 1970-12-26. Archived from the original on 2019-07-22. Retrieved 2016-10-03.